Elder statesman, Professor Femi Odekunle, once said: “If you chase money, money will run away from you, but when you are patient and diligent in whatever you do, money will find you.”
Many years after, this profound nugget from the old sage still echoes in my mind. The quest to hit it big has crippled so many things in our strides to be great. As young people, the real hustle is to make money no matter what. No one is interested anymore in following process.
A chap who just graduated from the university wants to own a car, build a house and marry a wife – all at the same time.
For goodness sake, how possible is that except you are into crime?
A young lady wants to have the nicest dress, reign in the costliest jewellery, host the talk of the town wedding, some dwelling in the best of abodes – all at the same time.
Again, how possible is it except you are into crime?
I have seen people live beyond their means because they are in a hurry to be like those ahead of them. Life is a measured template of time, no one gets anywhere ahead of time. The man you want to be like spent quality time preparing to be where he is today.
It is practically impossible to be like him except by sheer providence, and this stroke of divine flight doesn’t happen all the time.
I remember with biting nostalgia during our students’ day in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria – around 2007 to be precise. Hassan Rilwan, the publisher of then Sardauna Magazine had taken us to General TY Danjuma to invite him to honour our event.
The man thinking we were one of those young people going around asking for money from big men handed Hassan a cheque of N10 million.
In what appeared like a scene in a movie, Hassan stood up, looked the fearless General in the eyes and uttered what I still considered the most audacious thing ever heard. He said and I quote:
“Thank you, sir, if we do not deserve to give you an award, then we don’t deserve to collect your money. You are nominated for an award, not because you are without faults but because in our opinion, on a net average, you have done your part for Nigeria.
We are here not to be dashed money but to invite you to our leadership award where young people would be gathered to hear you speak as an accomplished man.”
There was dead silence, we could hear
the heartbeat of everyone. The General was transfixed, we were more befuddled. Here was our breakthrough finally, yet someone is returning a cheque of N10 million!
We cursed under our breath as we bemoaned the “foolishness” of our man. Needless to say, the trip to Lagos from Zaria was so excruciating that we spent almost two days on the road!
More dazed than us, the General retrieved his cheque and disappeared into his palatial fortress as we returned to Zaria more confused.
Of course, only one person appeared fulfilled and that was Hassan! In silence, we returned home and waved the incident behind us.
Days crept into weeks as weeks rolled into months.
Then one day, we got a call from the General that we return to Lagos – this time around on a chartered flight. Awaiting us was one of the finest receptions of life, lodged at 4 Points by Sheraton Lagos and hosted at MUSON centre in line up of honour were captains of industries, senior people in government, TY Danjuma and his beautiful wife, Daisy and avalanche of media men and women. Yes!
Some boys from Zaria were being hosted for a daring act considered unprecedented.
TY mounted the floor, cleared his throat and announced Hassan Rilwan as one of his greatest discoveries, that never in his life did anyone ever reject a token from him not to talk of N10 million! For this singular act, he adopted Hassan as his mentee, friend and associate.
And today that Hassan Rilwan heads the scholarship board of Kaduna State!
Ladies and gentlemen, this is my story and it ends thus: “When you chase money, it will run away from you.”
As the world celebrates the International Day of the Youth, what are we doing about the moral framework of our young people? What is our modelling template for mentoring?
In a world replaced with ostentatious values, a lot needs to be done in reshaping the mindset of our young people towards hard work, honestly and priced integrity, otherwise, we may wake up one day to behold a generation of flawed values.